Got a hair problem? There’s definitely a product for that


There is no shortage of OTC products promising to help maintain healthy hair and scalp, or to repair dry or damaged hair. Check these out, for starters.

People are always searching for just the right product to cleanse their hair and scalp, or to treat damaged hair. And the right product can vary greatly, depending on the condition and texture of each individual’s hair and scalp. There is no shortage of OTC products promising to help maintain healthy hair and scalp, or to repair dry or damaged hair. Many of these products target specific hair types and even the sex of the user. They include the following.

Dandruff control

Aveeno Nourish+ Dandruff Control Shampoo (Johnson & Johnson). This product promises to soothe a dry, itchy scalp while also nourishing damaged hair. Its formula includes an anti-dandruff ingredient and a natural oat complex combining an oat peptide and oat extract. Users can choose between moisturizing and volumizing shampoos.

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Head & Shoulders (Procter & Gamble). Different varieties of this product include Green Apple Shampoo, Citrus Breeze Shampoo, Ocean Lift Shampoo, and Old Spice Shampoo for Men. Each of these scalp-relief products releases a fragrance “that smells gorgeous and helps brighten the user’s mood.” The products are formulated to treat dry, sensitive, itchy, and oily scalps, and to offer benefits that include hair that is thicker, stronger, and frizz-free; protections against damage and breakage; and extra volume.

Old Spice Fiji 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner and Old Spice Pure Sport 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner (Procter & Gamble) deserve mention on the strength of product claims alone. Product literature states that each “enhances confidence and commands female attention ... provided you always buy products only really cool men buy.” Fiji “smells delightful and leaves hair soft, clean and shiny,” while Pure Sport “will get your hair soft, shiny and very motivated.” 

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Redken Dandruff Control Shampoo ( uses pyrithione zinc to combat dandruff, glycerin to hydrate scalps, and lavender extract to “soothe and clarify” hair. Dermatologist-tested for safety, this product controls itching and irritation, and promises to leave hair shiny, light, and airy.

Neutrogena T/Gel Daily Control 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo Plus Conditioner (Johnson & Johnson) is a frequent-use formula that promises to fight dandruff and leave hair tangle-free. This dermatologist-recommended product contains vitamin E, wheat proteins, and pyrithione zinc to relieve itching and flaking. It is safe for color-treated hair and is formulated to be gentle enough for daily use, leaving hair soft, manageable, and healthy-looking.

Nizoral A-D Shampoo (McNeil-PPC Inc.) is designed especially for African American hair and formulated to provide a long-lasting dandruff solution, especially for users who don’t shampoo daily.

In controlling Pityrosporum ovale, a fungus associated with dandruff and hair-shedding, ketoconazole, the active ingredient in Nizoral A-D, is reportedly 10 times more potent than the active ingredient in other OTC dandruff shampoos, providing long-lasting relief to itchy, flaky, and scaly scalps.


Repair of dry, damaged hair

Tresemmé Renewal Hair and Scalp (Unilever) offers a new collection of products - Renewal Hair and Scalp Shampoo, Renewal Hair and Scalp Conditioner, Renewal Hair and Scalp Conditioning Mask, and Renewal Hair and Scalp Conditioning Spray - all infused with tea tree extract and sunflower seed oil. Described in product literature as salon quality, they are formulated to help repair, nourish, and soothe the scalp at the surface cellular level.

Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser Heal & Seal Treatment (Garnier LLC) bills itself as a 60-second, daily rinse-out treatment with damage-targeting technology. The product is formulated with phyto-keratin complex and antioxidant-rich cupuaçu butter to repair and seal hair fibers with no build-up. It is applied after shampoo and conditioner, and left on for one minute.

It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Mask (Skin Deep3 Store) is a restorative, deep-conditioning treatment designed for color-treated, heat-styled, and otherwise processed hair. This product can be used both as a daily conditioner and as an intensive, deep-conditioning treatment for dry, damaged, or over-processed hair. Key ingredients include oat kernel extract, apricot kernel oil, sweet almond oil, and linseed extract.

Nexxus Emergencee Rebalancing Shampoo and Restoring Conditioner (Nexxus) is designed to reconstruct damaged hair and to add resilence through reduced breakage, whilerepairing the inner hair fiber. The formula contains 100% pure elastin protein and marine collagen, and is silicone-free.

Dove Intensive Repair Deep Treatment Mask (Unilever) is formulated with a keratin-based ingredient to repair hair damaged by overuse of heat-styling tools and too many color treatments, while helping to prevent future damage.

Product literature states that the treatment will instantly repair signs of damage and that furthermore, from its first use, it will make hair 10 times more resistant to breakage than hair would be that is treated with non-conditioning shampoos.

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